Johnnie Walker's Calling

This commercial - for scotch whiskey, believe it or not - gives my title's apostrophe two meanings.

"Johnnie Walker's calling"
First, it means the calling of Johnnie Walker. You - the Johnnie Walker here - reflect on the calling of your life. You look at the dangers and calculate which path is best. It's fear-based because you want to avoid probable ruin. But suddenly you make a switch and in the darkness, when nothing can be seen, you dismiss fear and choose the unknown. You flag down a car driven by who knows who and going who knows where, and what's the basis for your response?

"Would I be able to spend all time, eternity, in the safety of a place without promise of a thrill?"
Immortality showed up in my last Johnnie Walker post, too. Why does he worry about "all time, eternity"?

  • Extra credit: For the imaginative types out there, go to second :42. What's in the officer's mouth and what does it mean? Could it represent the loud voice of naysayers: "You can't do it! You won't succeed!"? I'm stuck on this.

"Johnnie Walker is calling"
Second, JW does the calling. Of course, now I'm referring to Johnnie Walker the whiskey, not the man. After all, this commercial is about whiskey. Most of us like progress, thrill and adventure, even if we sit in cubicles all day. Ad agency, Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty, knows this, and it associates thrill so closely with JW (the whiskey) that JW seems to be the one calling. Adventure, moving forward, thrill..., these become JW's alluring characteristics. BBH would never want you to experience boredom drinking JW.

OK, I've said enough. What do you think?


Marcus Goodyear March 6, 2009 at 7:36 AM  

After these two commercials, I'm not sure whether to go hug the JW people or shake my head that such inspiration is being used to promote whiskey.

I really enjoyed the commercial, and especially the mythic crossroads setting. That's where people go to meet the devil, right? The devil and Johnny Walker?

I took :42 image of officer to be a moment of general weirdness. It looked like a bullhorn or a cup to me.

Sam Van Eman March 6, 2009 at 9:44 AM  

"General weirdness" :)

Whatever it is, it's intentional, so it means something. And I agree with you about the creativity. Check out a few of the other print ads in this campaign.

M.joshua March 6, 2009 at 2:18 PM  

I think that the bullhorn in the officer's mouth at 00:42 is indicative of the fact that if you drink JW whiskey and drive really fast in a sports car, your life will be interrupted by the high-volume squawking of a DUI charge coupled with a resisting arrest charge; thus destroying your life.

Sam Van Eman March 6, 2009 at 3:09 PM  

You might be on to something, Josh.

BTW, I love how the sports car assembles, not disassembles. It still gives a crash and burn lifestyle effect without showing the driver actually destroy his life. Seems to serve as a premonition for JW or at least a preservation of the risk factor in the overall ad.

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